Dialogue would be held only with those who wield real power in Pakistan, says Imran Khan

Islamabad: Pakistan’s jailed former prime minister Imran Khan said on Friday that dialogue would be held only with those who wield real power in the country.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party founder said this during an informal chat with journalists in the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi after hearing of the Al-Qadir Trust corruption case.

“We will talk with those who have power. They (parties in the government) do not have power,” 71-year-old Khan said, adding that during the meeting about the Punjab election on 14 May 2023, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) members had said that Pakistan Army chief General Asim Munir had decided against holding the election.

Speaking to the media after the hearing of the £190 million scam case in Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail, Khan criticised the government, saying, “The Hamoodur Rahman Commission was established for two purposes: to prevent the repetition of past mistakes and to identify those responsible. The commission held General Yahya Khan accountable for prioritising his power, and today, the same mistakes are being repeated, leading to economic collapse.”

Khan highlighted the achievements of his government, stating, “During our three and a half years in power, NAB collected Rs450 billion. An additional Rs1,100 billion was expected, but due to amendments in NAB laws, only Rs300,000 was collected once, and Rs1.5 million another time. These amendments have cost the country Rs 1,100 billion, a loss it cannot afford.”

Khan praised PTI’s social media activists as heroes and demanded an apology from FIA for fabricating a false cypher case against him. “Political vendetta is ongoing in the country,” he said. “I will respond to FIA only in the presence of my lawyers. Mohsin Naqvi is orchestrating all this.”

When asked about the Supreme Court’s recommendation to negotiate with political parties, Khan said, “Even during Musharraf’s era, I did not negotiate with Shaukat Aziz but with those who had power.”

Imran said that they negotiated with other political parties on the suggestion of then-Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial. “According to the law, elections were supposed to be held within 90 days, but Justice Bandial succumbed to the opposition’s pressure,” he alleged.

Responding to a question about his previous comments on Nawaz Sharif referencing Sheikh Mujib and the Hamoodur Rahman Commission, Khan said, “At that time, I had not read the Hamoodur Rahman Commission report. Now, I have.”

When questioned about an alleged anti-state video posted from his X handle, Khan replied, “How can I post a video from jail? I take responsibility for the tweet, but I have not seen the video and will not comment on it.”

On who operates his X handle, Khan explained, “I only instruct my lawyers on tweeting.”

Imran said that he only has an exercise machine in his jail cell, adding that room coolers are installed in all cells.

He contrasted his situation with that of Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari, who had frequent meetings with visitors. “I am given only half-hour meetings with my lawyers and family,” he added.

Former prime minister said that investment will not come to the country without stability. “The upcoming budget will increase inflation and debt, which is why the Pakistan Peoples Party did not join the government.”